The 8 Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

If you have a dog with kidney problems such as chronic kidney disease or CKD, you were probably advised to place it on a special diet low in phosphorous. Dogs with compromised kidneys need a diet that contains less sodium, protein, and phosphorous while increasing dietary moisture and omega-3 fatty acids.

And while your veterinarian will probably recommend a specific diet for your dog, it’s good to have quality backup foods to give your dog variety and choice. Read on to see our list of the best low phosphorous dog foods.

The 8 Best Low Phosphorus Dog Foods

Top ProductsRatingsTop 5 Ingredients
1. Blue Buffalo Kidney Diet4.6Deboned Chicken, Potato Starch, Pea Starch, Peas, Potatoes
2. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet4.6Lamb, Glycerin, Lamb Meal, Dried Peas, Flaxseed
3. Zignature Limited Ingredient Diet4.7Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil
4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula4.6Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal
5. Hill’s Prescription Diet for Kidney Care Wet Food4.4Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Carrots, Rice
6. Instinct Freeze-Dried Dog Food4.5Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tapioca
7. Solid Gold Green Cow Wet Dog Food4.6Green Beef Tripe, Beef Broth, Potatoes, Canola Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate
8. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Diet4.8Duck Meal, Millet, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salmon Meal, Pumpkin Seed

1. Blue Buffalo Kidney Diet

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Potato Starch, Pea Starch, Peas, Potatoes

Blue Buffalo has a diet that has been designed specifically for dogs that are suffering from kidney problems. This dog food has a very low level of sodium and phosphorus, preserving kidney function while also reducing blood pressure. This about the kibble size of this food before buying it for your dog. This prescription-only diet requires a written prescription from your veterinarian.

2. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet

Top 5 Ingredients: Lamb, Glycerin, Lamb Meal, Dried Peas, Flaxseed

This low phosphorus dog food option from Natural Balance has a phosphorus level of 1.0 percent. Even though this would be low for dogs requiring a normal phosphorus level, this could be ideal for dogs that are suffering from kidney concerns. It also has plenty of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, providing your dog’s immune system with added support. The limited number of ingredients is great for dogs with allergies. 

3. Zignature Limited Ingredient Diet

Top 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Sunflower Oil

This low phosphorus option from Zignature features high-quality ingredients without using grain. It has animal protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, reducing inflammation and protecting your dog’s kidneys. It does have a bit more phosphorus than some of the other options on this list, so consult your veterinarian about specific recommendations before offering it to your dog.

4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal

This food from Blue Buffalo has been designed with chondroitin and glucosamine to reduce inflammation and encourage mobility. This food has a slightly higher phosphorus level than the kidney diet formulas; however, it is still relatively low. This recipe also has omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce joint pain in your dog.

5. Hill’s Prescription Diet for Kidney Care Wet Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Carrots, Rice

This wet food from Hill’s Prescription Diet has been specifically created by veterinarians and dog nutritionists for dogs suffering from kidney and joint problems. This nutrition option has low levels of phosphorus and sodium levels. Furthermore, it has chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega-3 fatty acids to protect your dog’s joints. Purchasing this food requires a prescription from your vet.

6. Instinct Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tapioca

This easily digestible recipe from Instinct is made of bone, meat, vegetables, and fruit. It has a lot of protein but a low phosphorus level. It also has a limited number of ingredients, reducing the chances of your dog developing allergies. It is expensive but works well for dogs on a low phosphorus diet. 

7. Solid Gold Green Cow Wet Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: Green Beef Tripe, Beef Broth, Potatoes, Canola Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate

This unique choice from Solid Gold Green Cow is for dogs with sensitive stomachs. This recipe protects your dog’s GI tract with healthy fats and probiotics. It has also been made with holistic ingredients, is gluten-free, and is naturally low in phosphorus. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, you may want to consider this dietary option. 

8. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Diet

Top 5 Ingredients: Duck Meal, Millet, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salmon Meal, Pumpkin Seed

Blue Buffalo also has a limited ingredient formulation with a low phosphorus level of 0.7 percent. It has lots of high-quality food sources, including pumpkin, peas, and potatoes. The recipe also stays away from the grain, which is great for dogs with allergies. This recipe can reduce inflammation, protecting your dog’s joints and kidneys. This recipe aims to improve kidney function. 

9. HI-TOR Veterinary Select

Top 5 Ingredients: Sufficient Water for Processing, Chicken, Pork Liver, Rice Flour, Corn Meal

This unique choice from HI-TOR is for dogs requiring kidney support. It has low levels of phosphorus, sodium, and protein and includes no artificial flavors or preservatives. The ingredients are easily digestible, preventing stomach upset. It also a low-fat recipe while still providing essential fatty acids. 

10. Purina Pro Plan Wet Food Kidney Function

Top 5 Ingredients: Water Sufficient For Processing, Meat By-Products, Rice, Corn Grits, Beef

Purina has a formula specifically designed for dogs with kidney problems. This wet food will work well for dogs that have a difficult time cutting through dry kibble. It also contains very low levels of phosphorus and sodium. This dog food also has plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals. 

11. Forza10 Renal Support

Top 5 Ingredients: Water Sufficient For Processing, Salmon, Chicken Liver, Lamb, Rice

These supplements from Forza10 could help your dog’s kidney function. These supplements work to keep phosphorus levels low, preserving your dog’s kidney functions. These highly palatable supplements work perfectly well as treats. They could be pricey; however, they could be good for the health of your dog’s kidneys. 

12. Purina Pro Plan Dry Food for Kidney Support

Top 5 Ingredients: Whole Grain Corn, Brewers Rice, Dried Egg Product, Animal Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Sugar

Purina also has a dry dog food option for canines requiring extra kidney support. It has a nice balance of nutrition with reduced phosphorus, sodium, and protein. Your dog’s kidneys will not have to work as hard. The recipe has specific dietary changes that could slow the progression of renal disease and ease symptoms. This dry food option also focuses on B complex vitamins that can help protect your dog’s body’s bones and joints as he or she breaks down nutrients. The top ingredients in this formula include corn, dried eggs, sugar, and animal fat, including fatty acids. 

13. Dry Food Kidney Diet from Hill’s Prescription Diet

Top 5 Ingredients: Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Pork Fat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken

Hill’s Prescription Diet has a dry food option that is great for dogs with kidney issues. It has low levels of phosphorus, low levels of sodium and comes with antioxidants to protect the joints and kidneys of your dog. It uses all-natural ingredients without any artificial flavors or preservatives.

14. Blue Buffalo Wet Food for Kidney Support

Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Potato Starch, Potatoes

This low phosphorus dog food option from Blue Buffalo is for kidney support. This food has all the benefits of the Blue Buffalo dry food for kidney support; however, it has a bit more moisture, making it easier to chew. If your dog requires a low phosphorus diet and has trouble with dry food, consider this wet food option from Blue Buffalo instead. 

15. Royal Canin for Renal Support

Top 5 Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Chicken Fat, Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp

Finally, this dog food from Royal Canin keeps phosphorus levels low while sticking to all-natural ingredients for the overall health of your dog. Furthermore, this food also has antioxidants and fish oil, which can reduce inflammation in your dog while improving his or her skin and coat. This recipe comes complete with flavor and smell enhancers that can stimulate your dog’s appetite. 

Related:

Frequently Asked Questions About Low Phosphorus Dog Food

A few common questions people ask about low phosphorus dog food include: 

1. What are examples of foods that could be high in phosphorus for dogs? 

There are several examples of foods that are high in phosphorus. These include beef bone meal, dicalcium, and turkey necks. 

2. What is the best dog food for a dog that has a history of kidney problems? 

Look for dog food that is low in sodium and phosphorus. The exact nature of the dietary requirements could change depending on the kidney problem. 

3. If my dog has kidney disease, what should I feed him or her? 

If your dog has kidney disease, feed your dog plenty of cooked, fresh, lean protein that has plenty of moisture, which may include beef with the fat removed, chicken, and certain types of seafood. 

4. Are there any foods that might increase the phosphorus levels in my dog? 

There are lots of foods that could increase your dog’s phosphorus levels. These include dairy products, certain types of poultry, a few beans, and certain nuts. 

5. Why does my dog have kidney problems? 

There are several possible reasons why your dog might be suffering from kidney issues. Sometimes, dogs simply develop kidney issues as they age. Your dog may also have a congenital condition. Your vet will be able to run more tests to figure out why your dog might have kidney problems. 

6. Do eggs have a lot of phosphorus in them? 

Even though eggs do have a lot of protein, they also have a lot of phosphorus. Each egg could contain as much as 100 mg of phosphorus. You can greatly reduce the amount of phosphorus in the egg by removing the yolk. 

7. How do I know if my dog is suffering from kidney problems? 

You may notice blood or foam in the urine. If you notice your dog is not urinating very much, this could also be a sign of kidney issues. 

8. Can my dog live with kidney problems? 

If your dog has developed kidney issues, this is a serious problem. The kidneys are responsible for removing toxins from the body. Your dog may require dialysis if its kidneys are not working. With dietary changes and medical treatment, it is possible to manage kidney problems. 

9. How much phosphorus does my dog need every day? 

If your dog is otherwise healthy, he or she requires between 2 and 4 grams of phosphorus every day per 1,000 calories of dietary requirements. 

10. If my dog has kidney disease, can I feed him or her sweet potato? 

Sweet potato is usually a good food choice for dogs with a history of kidney problems. 

11. If my dog has developed kidney failure, what will I notice? 

Kidney failure is different from an acute kidney issue. If your dog has kidney failure, you may notice weight loss, extreme fatigue, and a dirty fur coat from toxins that build up in your dog’s bloodstream. 

12. Is kidney failure painful for a dog? 

Depending on the severity of the condition, kidney failure can be painful. It may lead to abdominal pain. Your dog may develop mobility issues from this discomfort. 

13. If my dog does not have enough phosphorus, what will I notice? 

If your dog has low phosphorus levels, your dog may develop a low red blood cell count, appetite loss, and an extreme level of muscle weakness. 

14. What is the relationship between phosphorus levels and bones? 

Low phosphorus levels can impact the body’s bones. The bones could become deformed, soft, or weak.

15. How can I make sure my dog food is healthy for my dog? 

Different dog breeds have different nutrition requirements. Dogs also have different nutritional needs depending on their ages. Speak to your veterinarian to see if your dog requires a special diet.

16. If my dog has a kidney issue, what are the treatment options? 

Usually, kidney issues in dogs require medications and dietary restrictions. In severe situations, your dog may also need dialysis to filter its blood.

17. How come my dog does not pee when he or she is diagnosed with kidney disease? 

The kidneys are responsible for making urine. If the kidneys are not working, then no urine is being produced.

18. If my dog has kidney disease, what is the phosphorus restriction? 

Depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, they are limited to 150 mg of phosphorus or less for every 100 calories of food if they have kidney concerns. Talk to you about to learn what your dog’s restriction is. 

19. If my dog has kidney disease, is this permanent?

It depends on the reason why your dog has developed a kidney issue. Sometimes, kidney issues are temporary, such as issues related to an infection or injury. Other kidney problems may be permanent, such as end-stage kidney failure. 

20. Will my dog have low energy levels with kidney disease? 

Your dog may appear more tired than usual if he or she has been diagnosed with kidney disease, as some kidney problems can strip the body of essential nutrients, leading to fatigue. 

A Buyer’s Guide To Low Phosphorus Dog Food

If your vet has told you that your dog requires food with low phosphorus levels in it, why is this required? There are several possible reasons, including: 

  • Kidney Problems: The kidneys are responsible for regulating levels of ions in the dog’s bloodstream. If there is something wrong with the kidneys, the dog may have trouble keeping certain levels of ions in check, including phosphorus. If the kidneys are not working properly, dogs might have trouble removing phosphorus from the body, causing it to build up. For this reason, some dogs are placed on a diet that is low in phosphorus.
  • Bone Problems: There are also situations where a dog is on a low phosphorus diet due to problems related to his or her bones. Bones are mostly calcium. Calcium and phosphorus are in a delicate balance with one another. If there is something wrong with the bones, levels of calcium and phosphorus could be out of balance, requiring dietary changes

A few factors you should consider when looking for low phosphorus dog food include: 

  • Check Other Ions as Well: Look at the ingredient list on the back of the dog food. If your dog requires a low phosphorus diet, other things could be restricted as well, including sodium, potassium, and calcium. Ensure the dog food meets the requirements related to phosphorus and the requirements pertaining to other vitamins and minerals.
  • Look at the Main Ingredients: What is the main source of protein? If your dog has kidney issues, certain types of ingredients could create problems. Select a dog food that has as many natural ingredients as possible. Find a dog food that is mostly chicken, seafood, or beef. Chicken or beef “by-product” is not the same thing as the actual protein.
  • The Breed of Dog: Some dog foods are for larger dogs. Other dog foods are for smaller dogs. If you have a smaller dog and try to feed him or her large dog food, your dog will have trouble getting his or her teeth are around the dog food. If the pieces are too big, this could lead to choking hazards. 
  • The Age of the Dog: Some dog food has been made specifically for puppies. Other dog food has been created specifically for adult dogs. There are also dog food manufacturers that make food specifically for senior dogs. Puppies have different nutritional requirements compared to adult dogs because they need additional calories due to their activity levels and development. When your dog reaches an advanced age, he or she may not require as many calories.

After considering these factors, you should also try to stay away from certain ingredients:

  • Artificial Dyes and Flavors: Even though these are not necessarily going to ruin the nutritional value of the food, these artificial dyes and flavors could irritate the gastrointestinal tract of your dog. Dog food is supposed to taste good naturally. If artificial dyes and flavors are required, this is a bad sign.
  • Added Preservatives: Some types of dog food have artificial preservatives used to increase the shelf life. These artificial preservatives can lead to serious health problems. Even though you do want your dog food to last if possible, you want it to last a long-time naturally. Artificial preservatives can contribute to gastrointestinal irritation as well.
  • Common Allergens: Finally, think about whether your dog has any allergies. If your dog has allergies, you should stay away from common allergens such as wheat, dairy, and soy. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, scratching, watering eyes, red eyes, and hair loss.

If your dog requires a special diet, this could drive up the price of your dog food. Even though you want your dog to be healthy, you also need to think about your budget. If you need help paying for special dog food, your vet may be able to help you. The local pet store may offer a few discounts as well that could help you.